04/14/2005 11:00PM

Plenty of horses left for feature


PORTLAND, Ore. - The 80-day Portland Meadows meeting is winding down and there are fewer than 400 horses left on the grounds, but you wouldn't know that from Sunday's 78th program. A total of 81 horses are entered on the nine-race card, or nine per race, and that is an average most West Coast tracks might envy.

Sunday's featured seventh race, a six-furlong test for open $2,500 claimers, will better the average with an evenly matched field of 10.

Parducci Ridge might be the one to beat off his sharp form. Parducci Ridge, a 6-year-old trained by Jonathan Nance, won under the same conditions two races back, then returned April 4 to finish second to Nova Ice when again racing under Sunday's conditions. For his career, Parducci Ridge boasts 20 exacta finishes from 34 starts, a record of remarkable consistency for a horse who races at or near the bottom level.

Parducci Ridge faces a stern challenge from Collateral Maker, who will be shooting for his third straight score. Collateral Maker, a 4-year-old from the barn of owner and trainer Ron Haasl, defeated $3,200 nonwinners-of-two by a length on March 26, then came right back on April 2 to defeat $2,500 nonwinners-of-three at 5 1/2 furlongs. Though he will be making his first start against open company on Sunday, Collateral Maker is clearly on an improving pattern and would appear to fit the race snugly.